EU
READMISSION AGREEMENTS with third countries
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One of the main debates concering the European Union (EU) refers to whether policy-making in an EU institutional setting can be defined as supranational or intergovernmental. Migration policies have traditionally supported the latter argumentation; however, since the implementation of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999) a slow movement from an intergovernmental to a more communitarian form of cooperation in migration policies is undeniable. This shift of sovereignty is noticeable in relation to readmission agreements with third countries, the laest of which is Pakistan which the LIBE Committee voted a draft report on 13 July 2010. Is the cooperation the result of nation states' cost-benefit analysis, where the benefits derived from cooperation is greater than the costs of exclusion, or is it the result of the integration process which has progressively reduced the ability of member states to act independently?

The EU's integration in the migration field is not as "communitarised" as formal institutional development makes it appear. Member States cooperate to circumvent the international human rights regimes that limit their ability to implement restrictive immigration policies.

The limited negotiation leverage of the European Union in the field of readmission agreements has led the EU to insert "compensatory measures" to such agreements, such as for example visa facilitations regimes. However, such clause is not part of all readmission agreements. In fact, from the recent debates held in the LIBE Committee on readmission agreements with Pakistan it seems that this third country will not benefit from visa facilitations which have been constantly been part of readmission agreements with Western Balkans countries (see list below).

The fact that visa facilitations regimes are used unevenly raise the question on whether the EU divides countries between bona fide (entitled to facilitations) and mala fide (not entitled to such regime) and what consequences this distinction has on the rights of individuals.

Visa facilitations programmes foresee the introduction of biometric passports for third country nationals greatly increasing the power of the EU to control the movements of third country nationals as to facilitate their expulsion when the country of origin cannot be determined.

If one considers the human rights records of some the countries part of these readmission agreements one may well wonder what kind of guarantees the EU has put into place to ensure that such readmissions do not breach international human rights norms.

Agreements in force with visa facilitation

Bosnia&Herzegovina
Negotiations lasted from 2006 to 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Fyrom
Negotiations lasted from 2006 to 18 September 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Moldova
Negotiations lasted from 2007 to 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Montenegro
Negotiations lasted from December 2006 to 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Ukraine
Negotiations lasted from 2002 to 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Serbia
Negotiations lasted from 2006 to 2007 and the agreement was signed 1 January 2008

Agreements with no Visa facilitation

Albania

Negotiation lasted from 2003 to 2005 and the agreement entered into force in 2004

Hong Kong
Negotiations lasted from 2001 to 2003 and the agreement entered into force in 2004

Macao
Negotiations lasted from 2001 to 2003 and entered into force in 2004

Sri Lanka
Negotiations lasted from 2001 to 2004 and entered into force in 2005

Russia
Negotiations lasted from 2003 to 2006 and entered into force in 2007

Pakistan: After 10 years of negotiations (2000-2010) the LIBE Committee voted on a draft report on 13 July.

Negotiations with visa facilitation

Georgia
Negotiations with Georgia have completed in just one year (from 2009 to 2010). The agreement foresees visa facilitations and is now waiting for the signature of the Council

See also: EU readmission agreement: Overview

As well as this: tStatewatch Briefing: Readmission agreements with Pakistan

and this: Readmission Agreements and EC External Migration Law


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